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Hai Vogue Comes to Al Balad: 15 Gorgeous Pictures of the UNESCO Site

On February 8-9, Vogue Arabia will take over the neighborhood of Al Balad with Hai Vogue, its first large-scale event in Saudi Arabia — and it’s open to the public! As we gear up for the big festival, which brings together fashion, music, culture, food and celebrities, we’re taking you on a photo journey through Al Balad, best known for its vibrant century-old buildings and creative nooks. Read on to discover some of the most stunning Al Balad pictures online, and find out everything about the festival — from how to get tickets, to the line-up of musical performances coming your way — here.

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

What makes Al Balad so special?

Jeddah’s oldest neighborhood carries a whole lot of history. Located just about 75 kilometers from the Holy City, Al Balad has been lovingly known as the Gate to Mecca for years, as it was seen as a point of convergence for Muslim pilgrims on their way to Mecca. It also served as a major connector along the Indian Ocean trade routes to facilitate regional commerce.

Today, Al Balad stands out not just for its beautifully restored buildings, which catch the eye in varying shades of greens and browns, but also for its strong creative hub. The streets of Jeddah’s favorite spot are slowly but surely filling up with interesting cafés, designer workshops, and meeting hubs for Saudi Arabia’s youth, making it the ideal location for Hai Vogue.

Why is Al Balad considered a UNESCO site?

In 2009, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities nominated Al Balad for UNESCO‘s World Heritage list, and it was accepted in 2014. The neighborhood earned the spot due to the unique architecture of its tower houses, the dual role it played as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, and also as the gateway for Muslim pilgrims to Mecca.

The neighborhood and its historical buildings are preserved by a number of initiatives, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Revitalize Historic Jeddah project. Launched in 2021 as part of the broader Historic Jeddah Development Project, the 15-year initiative aims to develop and establish Al Balad as a dynamic hub for Saudi Arabia’s art, culture, and commerce.

Whether you’ve had the chance of visiting Al Balad or not, there’s no missing its distinct look. Characterized by beautiful stone homes crafted using rocks near Al Arbaeen Lake, intricate wooden latticework (known as rawasheen or roshan), and walled gateways that have now become iconic, the neighborhood celebrates Jeddah’s rich history with its arresting architecture. It comes as no surprise, then, that Al Balad has found itself photographed millions of times by travelers, all of whom have done their best to capture its beauty in their frames.

15 gorgeous Al Balad pictures you need to see

That Hai Vogue is going to be an unforgettable event is no doubt. And surrounded by the stunning buildings of Al Balad, Vogue Arabia’s two day festival also promises to be a picturesque affair. Presenting a lineup of incredible talent in music, fashion, art, food, and more, Hai Vogue is all set to light up Jeddah’s oldest neighborhood. Before you buy your tickets and head over, take a peek at some of the most beautiful snapshots of the area, featuring Bayt Naseef, Bayt Ba`ishan, and Bayt Noorwali, to name a few. Get ready to fall in love with this haven’s beautifully carved wooden detailing, unexpected pops of color, and romantic historic elements.

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

al balad pictures

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Photo: Courtesy UNESCO

Vogue Arabia is taking over Jeddah’s Al Balad for a one-of-a-kind block party at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. On February 8 and 9, 2024, join us at Hai Vogue, where we will turn the spotlight on Saudi’s spirited youth and creative community, framed by the unique architecture and spirit of this historical neighborhood.

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